Hanalei Blog

Looking for things to do on Kauai’s north shore? How about kayaking? This is not the kind of kayaking that has rapids or something like that, this kind of kayaking is more like paddling around. If you are not a fitness buff, then this may feel like an upper body workout a bit… like it was for me.

Kayaking on Hanalei River is a fun thing to do, and it’s family friendly. There are kayaks for rent (that seat up to three people is the most I have seen). There are folks out there with children too, so you can bring them along if you think they are ready, good listeners, and who want to go out on the water. I have seen kids as young as about four years old, if that helps any.

There are multiple locations on the north shore to get out and on the water. Hanalei River is the one I like to kayak on. The water is easy and smooth. The landscape is breathtaking! You are bound to see wildlife such as turtles and birds. It is like an estuary out there.

With any kayaking adventure, I recommend going prepared. Sunscreen is a must, a water bottle, maybe a sunhat or other type of shade. Wear clothes that you would be okay getting wet in as far as shorts and shoes. You can bring your cell phone if you wish. There is a thing called a “dry bag” case that is available for rent at most all kayak rental shops. It is large enough to hold a few small possessions to keep dry, such as a phone, wallet, and a key ring. In case the inside of the boat gets wet, these items will be just fine. If you think this is a good investment for your lifestyle, go ahead a buy a dry bag, or bring the one you already own.

March 30, 2014 by, Lindsey

If you live on Kauai then you know exactly what I am talking about when I say “shave ice” …for those of you who are going to be coming to Kauai soon or are here visiting, let me tell you now: please treat yourself to some shave ice…

Shave ice is beautifully shaved ice that I like to describe as “fluffy, soft, smooth and fine.” This is not a snow cone or a slushy or anything like that. It is so significantly better that it really does not compare to those. Shave ice is delicious and it comes in a wide variety of flavors. Syrups are added to give the shave ice its flavor.

There is also the option to get ice cream with your shave ice. I recommend the ice cream. Why? Because I like ice cream. The ice cream is also your choice, so pick carefully and pair well with your syrups. When in doubt, ask the person serving you what they like and they will be sure to recommend a good combination.

Where can you get shave ice? On the north shore here, there is a place called Shave Ice Paradise. They set up shop at 5-5183 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714. Type that into your GPS or smart phone and they are open most afternoons on into the evening. I like–no wait, I love their shave ice with Macadamia nut ice cream and coconut syrup. Heaven in a cup. Look here for their other syrup flavors.

Another hot spot to go for shave ice is at Wishing Well Shave Ice in Hanalei. Here is their address 5-5066 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714. There are more flavors on the menu, but I say equally as good as Paradise. If one is not open, go to the other, really. When you need some shave ice in your life, you just need it. And then you’ll need seconds! That is what I always have to talk myself out of: seconds… each time I have shave ice.

There are other tasty shave ice locations on Kauai’s north shore, I just highlighted two today. I will name others in later blogs and other types of eateries as well. I just had to share about shave ice so you too can experience it–and the sooner the better.

March 11, 2014 by, Lindsey

Alright, this is turning out to be a busy week for me and this weekend is looking to be much busier! There are so many events and activities going on here on “The Garden Island” that I must share as many as I can! If you are not wanting to travel to Lihue for the lei making workshop this Saturday, I would encourage you to come to a free event on the north shore.

It is a community workday–a great way to get involved in the community by lending a helping hand. Did I mention that after the cleanup they are also providing a free lunch? Yes, there is a Waipa Community Workday this Saturday from 9am to 12noon followed by a free lunch.

This may not seem like the most glamorous event, but it sure has a lot of meaning and purpose. The workday is to help control the weeds and to then plant native trees and other useful plants of the Ahupua’a of Waipa and Malama the stream.

Interested in getting a bit dirty to help beautify Kauai’s natural landscape? If you are genuinely interested in helping out, here is what you can do. Contact Emmaleah at (831) 566-4575. She will want to know that you are coming. This will also help the Waipa Foundation plan for lunch that day. After you RSVP, pack your bag. Bring a filled water bottle, good shoes for walking and hiking, a towel, a snack if you so desire, and gloves for gardening type activities. Apply sunscreen and insect repellant before you come out, too.

The group is starting out the cleanup workday at Waipa, just a half mile out of Hanalei. This is a great option for those of you staying on Kauai’s north shore. If you and your family or group of friends staying on the island are looking for something productive to do, this is a great option for a few hours on Saturday morning. Now if only I can decide on which event or events I can make it to that day!

February 24, 2014 by, Lindsey

Kauai has made great improvements over the years to cater to alternative forms of transportation. One of which is the North Shore Path for bicyclists, walkers, runners, and others. Back in 2012, the North Shore Path (NSP) was unveiled. It is a beautiful paved path connecting the communities of Kilauea, Princeville, and Hanalei along the North Shore. Now that you know some basics of this nature-filled path, let me tell you more…

This path has been something welcomed by the community. It offers an alternative to motorized vehicles as a way for transportation. It promotes exercise, health and wellness, and a more united sense of community. I have been out on the NSP and I like it when I come across others on the path, along the way to my destination. I always see friendly faces when I am on it. Sometimes I go out and bike on it for pure exercise. Other times I have used it to make a leisurely commute on my bicycle.

The path really is an extensive trail that is composed of some road sharing and some alternative paths so you can more efficiently get to your destination. In the Princeville area on into Hanalei Bay there are some parts of the path near the water, too. If you have a bike and you are anywhere near the North Shore, this is something you must do.

Perhaps you are going to be vacationing in the Hanalei area and you will not have a bicycle with you. Not to worry! There are bicycle rental shops in the area! In Hanalei there is Pedal n Paddle. Click on the link to see prices and cruise their site to get their exact physical address. The folks there are very nice and helpful–I recommend them! :)

If you do not wish to bike the NSP then please, walk it! If you have little ones, stroll on it! It is something outdoorsy, free to do and it keeps us all moving. I know I look for ways to add exercise into my day. If you are on vacation, this is a great way to help keep fit.

February 16, 2014 by, Lindsey

What a lovely weekend it has been. I hope your Valentine’s Day was as pleasant as it could be. The weekend was full of activities for me, as you can see from following my blog ;)

On Sundays I usually look at my calendar for the week ahead, and make some plans here and there to keep myself busy with fun things to do. Again, this is the planner in me! One activity I like to do often is visit one of the Sunshine Markets on Kauai. This is also known by others as a Farmers Market. If you are looking for the freshest produce, this is the place to go! I really like the atmosphere there as well; good food and good people!

I suggest Tuesday’s market at Hanalei at Waipa. It starts at 2 o’clock pm and goes until about 4pm. It is held at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center on Papalina Road just after the fire station. This is the place to go if you are looking for organic produce, fresh tropical fruits, exotic tropical flowers, and herbs. I have seen the majority of the foods there to be organic. There are also some non-food vendors there selling things like jewelry or other cute little crafts and souvenirs.

If you are in the area, staying in Princeville, Hanalei, or Haena I suggest adding this to your to do list for Tuesday. If you are arriving to your vacation rental on the north shore, stop by this market to fill up your kitchen with healthy, local, delicious food for your stay. And it is every Tuesday–not just this upcoming one. I do not get around to going every week… it is more like every other week for me I suppose. My tips if you are planning to go are: wear comfortable walking shoes, bring reusable bags for your purchases, and if you can, use small bills for your purchases.

February 2, 2014 by, Lindsey

Well, today was the Super Bowl in the wide world of sports. I opted not view the game. Instead, I saw this as an opportunity to get out and do something for myself. I do like to relax every now and then ;) …spa services followed by some evening blogging does the trick for me. After all, I did have had a busy weekend!

It was refreshing to go out and get a manicure and pedicure. This is something I do not always go out and do. But hey, it is a way I can pamper myself without breaking the bank. I went to Relish in Hanalei and I just love the name, the atmosphere there, and my nails! At first, you may be thinking, “Relish, as in what I put on my hot dog and what goes in potato salad… that relish?” Short answer: no. Not the condiment.

This takes the meaning of relish as a verb, “to take pleasure in” or “to enjoy.” Now that is what this place is all about! I filled my reusable cup with cucumber and lemon infused water and off I went. Sometimes you just have to make time in your schedule to have some “me time.” If you are staying in the Hanalei area and are looking for just that–some me time–I suggest you schedule your manicure, pedicure, and/or hair appointment with them ASAP. It is just respectful, I think, to both your time and theirs to get an appointment on the calendar. This will ensure you are not waiting to be serviced, should there be other customers at that time (then again their waiting area is quite nice).

These friendly people are located at 5-5161 Suite 210 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714. It is located right above Barracuda Restaurant on the second story. They are open from 10am to 5pm each day. I recommend calling to schedule an appointment. I did the work for you and got their number: (808) 826-7742. You’re welcome.

January 18, 2014 by, Lindsey

So, you are staying or going to stay on Kauai in the Hanalei Bay area, huh? That is a great choice! Let me tell you about one of the fav, dive bars in the area. If you do not drink that is fine. Go there for the pizza at least. The restaurant and cocktail lounge is called Tahiti Nui. If you are on Kauai right this moment here is the street address so you can plug it into your smart phone or GPS system and get there without any problems: 5-5134 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei. Click here to follow turn by turn directions if that is easier for you. :)

The Mai Tai is popular and so is the pizza. That is what I would say it is best known for. What my favorite part of this restaurant is not just the food, but also the live music. Yes, I said it and I meant it. The live music at dinnertime is simply fantastic and genuine. I like anything really that is genuine and authentic. This is the real deal! Hawaiian music in Hanalei. Perfection.

Something else I should let you know about Tahiti Nui: patio seating. It is not all indoor seating. If you’re willing, I suggest dining outside. Why outside? Here is my take on the topic…

Dining outdoors I am convinced makes my food taste even better! Being outside in the elements with the fresh air filling my lungs makes it so that my experience is more real–more awakening. It is difficult to put words to exactly. Dining on the patio enables me to look around at the scenery and to enjoy the landscape as I savor my food. It may seem silly to some, but I am convinced the setting has a lot to do with the overall experience. Now add the live performers and their music. Again, perfection! This combination with food, setting, and live entertainment makes for a great combination.

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are days I suggest to go. Yes, there will be more people there simply because it is the weekend, but from my perspective that is more attractive for as a restaurant-goer it makes for better people watching, meeting new people, and also experiencing the live music as a group. There becomes a sense of community when you are at a restaurant like this. It is a fun, fun thing!

Are you coming to stay in the Hanalei area on Kauai? Please let me help you make plans for your upcoming stay! After all, you are looking for things to do in the area, things that are fun and entertaining. I know just the thing for you and your family. This would also make for a great couples or adult outing. Experience A Taste of Kauai, Yesterday and Today. This is more than a meal, it is a tour, an outdoor event, a learning experience for everyone who is a part of the event.

Ok so mark your calendars for Friday, January 24th. Tours usually start at 9:30am and end about 1:00pm. Note that reservations for tours must be made three or more days in advance, thus me telling you all about it now. I try to plan ahead so I thought I would give you lovely folks a heads up.

What is this cultural festival all about? This is a culinary tour unlike any other! You will get to learn about how ancient Hawaiian farming and food preparation techniques relate to this modern day. You will get to tour a taro and market garden as well as a fishpond. This all takes place in the beautiful Hanalei Valley Wildlife Refuge.

Now for the food part–the eating part–you do get to experience the taro tasting and a four course lunch at the breath-taking Hanalei Bay. What is on the menu? Local, fresh, and delicious cuisine. Organic chicken, local fish, handmade raviolis, and fresh vegetables are on the menu. For dessert Passion Fruit Cheesecake and Banana Lumpia will be served. Banana Lumpia is a fried banana dessert topped with brown sugar or sometimes caramel. It does depend on the time of year you go to get what is locally grown and in-season at that time.

I have heard wonderful reports about this cultural festival in Hanalei. If you are staying nearby this would be an ideal addition to your vacation stay. The Hanalei Valley Wildlife Refuge is a place where you will not only experience and see the culinary side of Kauai but you will also be able to see endangered birds, indigenous fish and many, many native plants. Be sure to bring your camera for this one! I also suggest wearing comfortable shoes for this event for it is a walking tour along farmland and also on the beach when it comes time for lunch.

Like I mentioned already, you do need reservations for this event. Tickets cost $115 plus tax for this once in a lifetime experience. To hold your reservation, call 808-635-0257 and leave a message if they do not pickup. Upon registering you will be emailed an itinerary of the festival.

January 4, 2014 by, Lindsey

Well here it is: a new year, a fresh beginning. To start off the year right it was my pleasure to start this lovely Friday morning with a steaming hot cup of Hawaiian brewed coffee. Ever since I hit adulthood, coffee has been my go-to. On this special day of the new year I decided I had better make it to Hanalei Coffee Roasters to get a cup of the good stuff.

What I love about this place is that they use locally grown coffee beans, roast them, and serve that coffee to customers in their shop. If you thought I loved coffee–which I most certainly do–you must also know something about me: I love locally grown food. And by food I mean food and drinks. After all, coffee beans are a non-liquid substance turned into a liquid drink. Never mind. The point is that I like coffee and I love Hanalei Coffee Roasters and what they are all about.

This café is a coffee, tea, breakfast, brunch restaurant. It is not large scale though and most days you will find a line out the door. But hey–that is how you know you have found something good! I knew I was in for it today since it’s a Friday and all but I just had to. If Max is there he will be sure to entertain you as well. Good folks there.

This is not a sit-down and be waited on kind of place, it is a bit more casual like other coffee shops. They just so happen to serve yummy food too! When you go, go all out. Yes get coffee (or tea). Stay and eat too. If you order something like a waffle or a pancake, ask for coconut syrup. If you like coconut to begin with, then go for it. Trust me.

I ordered a chocolate raspberry volcano muffin. Oh my goodness it took everything in me not to order another! That and a hot vanilla latte did me in. What a lovely morning it was. I am in good spirits for the first weekend of the new year! There is something wonderful about coffee and to pair that with such an amazing place–that is something beautiful. There is outdoor seating, and that is where I prefer to sit. Something about a cup of coffee in hand and to be able to feel the elements–or be right next to them–makes me feel alive and awake. I love Kauai and here at this coffee shop in Hanalei is where I like to get my coffee from.

All this talk and now you want to go there? HCR are in Hanalei. If you are already staying in Hanalei, simply take the Kuhio Highway to Hanalei Family Center (5-5183C Kuhio Hwy).

Have you ever heard of Kalo? Honestly, not a lot of people have. But have you heard of Taro? This term is a bit more common, but both refer to the same plant!

Here on Kauai, Kalo is a very important crop. It was first brought to the Hawaiian islands in 300 different varieties, each of which was different and relatively unique. Today, there are only 100 varieties grown amongst the islands, with quite a few varieties growing right here on Kauai. (After all, we’re the garden isle, right? We have the perfect weather for the Kalo crop!)

The type of Kalo we grow tends to grow best in tropical environments where it can get plenty of water. Here on Kauai, lush vegetation is easy to grow because the mountains bring the mist and the light rains throughout the year. So growing Karo is easier for us than it is for most. Plus, we also have lo’I, which are kalo patches sustained by constant flows of water. (If you want to see such a place and how the irrigation systems work, take a tour of one of our Taro/Kalo plantations. You will be amazed at the engineering involved!)

Now, if you’ve ever eaten Kalo/Taro, then you might have an idea of how it is grown and cooked. But for those of you who don’t know, these plants are long-stemmed with big rounded leaves. They are planted invidiually in the ground, not found as a bush or a tree. And they are poisonous.

Yep. Poisonous. ☺

Of course, we don’t eat them in that state! You see, the leaves need to be plucked off and the root must be WELL cooked in order to remove the calcium oxianate contained in each one. (If you try to eat Kalo raw, you will be in for an unpleasant surprise when your mouth feels like razors are slicing it to pieces and starts to burn. Not good.) In fact, those who harvest Kalo must be very careful as well. They use gloves so the roots don’t irritate their hands.

I’ve often wondered who it was that first looked on such an unpleasant little plant and said, “I bet it wouldn’t be so bad if I cooked it.” Yep. Brave human being, that was. But now we eat Taro/Kalo all the time. It has become a part of our histories and our traditions.

AND, in order to celebrate the amazing plant we call Karo, we are having a FESTIVAL!

This Saturday (December 7th) we will be having our 4th Annual Waipa Kalo Festival! The Festival will run from 10am-5pm and is only $5 for adults and $1 for children. (Entrance fees will go to support the Waipa Foundation. Look them up online for more information.) The fun will take place around the Halulu Fishpond in Waipa (near Hanalei Bay) and will include things to do for every member of your family.

For those who are educationally minded, there will be displays and histories of the Kalo plant and its uses, including demonstrations of harvesting and cooking. There will also be hands-on activities for kids, artist booths for cultural crafts, and great food made of this fabulous plant! (So if you’ve never tasted Kalo/Taro before, now is your chance!) And, of course, there will be live music played ALL DAY LONG! (What’s a Kauai festival without a little music, right?)

It really is going to be a wonderful day. So if you are in Hanalei this weekend, please come by the festival. This Saturday! Halulu Fishpond! 10-5! See you there!

When you’re on vacation, you don’t just want to stay in a hotel room with no space to stretch out and nothing to do. You want to stay somewhere with lots of space, some great amenities, and something to do while you’re there. And that’s why I’m posting today about one of the most beautiful homes for rent on Kauai: Taro Plantation.

This 4 bedroom, 3 bath house is massive. Each room has comfortable furniture that perfectly fits the space, owing to an excellent interior decorator. And each space in the house continues the elegant theme of natural woods, soft tones, and upscale grandeur that are so apparent when you first walk in.

Included in that grandeur are antiques from China and Indonesia, moving pieces that provide a sense of awe and cultural depth to the house. Plus, there are stained glass windows that diffuse the light and inspire with shades of joy.

The bedrooms are suites really. The master suite has a king-sized poster bed, beautiful furniture, and the most impressive bathroom I’ve ever seen, with large tiles leading into a walk-in bathing area. The other bedrooms have queen-sized beds, so no one will have to sleep in a tiny space. Owing to this, the house itself can sleep 8 adults comfortably, and one more if your guest doesn’t mind sleeping on the couch.

But the rooms aren’t the best part. The living space is substantial and comfortable. The living room has cable tv and a DVD player for quiet nights at home. Plus, the house is equipped with high speed internet, so you can bring your laptops and read my blog as you sit in your beautiful vacation home in comfort. And, best of all, there is a large gourmet kitchen that includes all of the best appliances, cookware, dishes, and utensils you will need to feed everyone you bring with you. Off the kitchen is a large dining room that seats 8 and you will find everything you need to lay out a beautiful dinner in the kitchen shelves.

And that doesn’t even begin to take the outside into account. This house is built in a secluded spot in Hanalei Valley, right past Swan Lake. To get there, you will drive through beautiful taro fields and waterways, leading to a house right in the midst of nature. Each morning, you can step out onto the spacious lanai (patio) and enjoy a cup of Kauai Coffee while you watch the waterfowl play in the water. And, if you’d like to take a dip in a refreshing pool, there is a large pool on the property where you can swim contentedly. There is even a poolside dining area, a beautifully laid out section of tile where you can BBQ (it’s a gas grill) and eat while having a pool party.

Now, this all sounds very secluded and far away from civilization, right? But fortunately, while it’s tucked away far enough to be private, this home is only a short walk away from town. Hanalei Town has just about everything you’ll need while you stay with us, from restaurants to grocery stores, from gift shops to equipment rentals. So no matter what you’d like to do while here, you’ll be close to the action. Plus, if you walk (or drive) just a bit further, you will reach Hanalei Bay, the most beautiful beach on earth.

Honestly, this house is the best of the best. However, the price is much lower than one would expect to pay for an elegant mansion home in the heart of Kauai. For only $4000 a week, you can stay in this amazing home. And sometimes they run specials, meaning you can get an even better deal on the house! It’s worth a look, right?

So if you want to come to Kauai and stay in style, please consider Taro Plantation. You will be so pampered here, you won’t want to leave!

Get it? Like “well that’s interesting” only I said whale. Because… it’s WHALE SEASON! ☺

(Yes, I realize that I can be a bit nerdy every once in a while, but I’m seriously excited that it’s whale season once again. So bare with me.)

Every November, we see more and more whales migrating around the island. And it brings some excitement and a sense of wonder to my world. I love witnessing the enormity of the journey, the pristine beauty of the world’s largest creatures cutting through the water, and the glistening sun bouncing off of their features as they pursue the path of their natural instincts, swimming toward the open water.

The beauty of whale season is a perfect time for island tourists as well. After all, who wouldn’t want to wake up in their home rental and look out the window to see these mammoth sea beasts bursting through the waves? They make life more splendid, especially if you have never seen a whale up close before. And, if you didn’t know, it’s good luck to have a whale surface for you. It means prosperity and happiness all year long.

So if you have been wanting to visit Kauai, now is a great time to come. There will be luaus, town events, concerts, festivals, parties, holiday cheer, and hundreds of large mammals floating through the water, waiting for a kindly tourist on a whale watching tour to meet them. It’s truly a wonderful time, this November-January season. And I hope you will all join me in celebrating right here on the North Shore, my home.

And, if you are on Kauai tonight and feel like celebrating with us, come to the Whales Homecoming Slack Key Concert at the Hanalei Community Center. The concert starts at 4pm and has a fee of $20. The music, however, is priceless and will be a gift offered to the audience by the McMasters, artists who have given their lives to the pursuit of traditional slack key and the knowledge of customs past down from generations past. They are truly dedicated musicians, histories, story tellers, and friends. I hope you’ll be able to come and witness this event in person.

September 10, 2013 by, Emily

Today I want to talk about surfing. For tourists and visitors (and for residents too) surfing is a way of life. Surfing is a part of Kauai that many people come and seek out. After you have booked your flight and made reservations to stay on Kauai, you will probably tell people about your upcoming trip. When you tell them you will be going to Kauai, they may ask what you plan on doing there. Some of the classics would be going to a traditional luau or taking surfing lessons. Surfing lessons?! Why not! Live a little and try it out. Who knows, you might like it or fall head over heels in love with it. (Pun not intended there.)

There are quite a few surf schools you can attend if you want to learn to surf here on Kauai. One in particular that I like is Titus Kinimaka’s Hawaiian School of Surfing, Hanalei. It is a surf school owned by a family, so you and your family are sure to feel welcome. And if there are those in your family who have already learned to surf, no worries. This surf school has lessons for beginners and experts. After all, it’s never too late to learn something new, right? So while the beginners in your group are having their lesson, the experts can get a few pointers themselves and be out in the water in no time.

If you think you will not have fun doing this-think again! I had a blast doing it. Then again, I know how to laugh at myself… if you can do that then you should be golden no matter what. (If you have read my blog before, you know that I am not a good surfer. My family lovely calls me a disgrace to the Hawaiian people. And they are probably right… unless falling off a surf board is a tradition I was unaware of. ;-)

The most important thing about this surf school is that the surf instructors are all lifeguards. So you will be perfectly safe as you attempt to surf the waves. (This might help to ease the minds of you parents out there.) Plus, the instructors like taking small groups, so everyone gets one-on-one attention and a good lesson overall. The ratio was one instructor per three students.

When I went out for my beginner lesson, we were at sandbars–no coral reef or anything like that–so I did not come back with bumps and bruises after my lesson. They guaranteed that I would surf the first day. Well, I did! Can you believe it? I can only believe it cause my friend on land caught a picture of me up in the water… right before I fell into the waves. :) So much fun! I highly suggest you take a surfing lesson while on Hawaii. When in Rome, do as the Romans do… and when on Kauai, do as the natives do. That is something I have always tried to implement in my own life, and I hope you do the same.

August 14, 2013 by, Emily

Do you need a place to stay while you are on Kauai? How about a place that’s close to the sand castle building competition? How about a house that’s walking distance from the beach so you don’t have far to go? How about Nani Kai in Hanalei, one of the cutest vacation rental homes in Kauai?

Now, if you don’t have kids, you will still love this vacation home for the space it affords and the bright and cheery atmosphere of the interior. However, if you DO have children, you will love this place for many, many reasons, some of which I will list now.

This property has 4 bedrooms. The largest (the master bedroom) has an attached bathroom and a door to the lanai outside. The other bedrooms have queen-sized and full-sized beds and they share a bathroom. So your children will be sleeping well in their own rooms and you will be enjoying the master suit with your sweetheart.

The living room has enough comfortable furniture to allow a whole household of children to lounge comfortably. It’s also a short walk to a beach. So if you’re sick of having a bunch of kids who only want to hang out at the house and lounge all day, this is the place for you. Lounging for them; nature walk and beach time for the whole family.

Another plus is the fact that this house has… wait for it… AIR CONDITIONING! Now, most places on Kauai have ceiling fans and such, to combat the days when it’s humid outside. But even then, sometimes it’s hard for small children to be in a tropical climate, if they aren’t used to it. After a long day of playing in the sun and getting sweaty, wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a cool, air conditioned house? I think so. And your children will appreciate it.

There is also a washer and dryer in this house. Now, this isn’t exactly for the kids, but let’s face it: kids are messy. Everyday of your vacation, they will get dirty, wet, sandy, and covered in grime. So to keep you from having to pack every child 3 outfits for every day of your vacation, you can just use the washer and dryer. You’re welcome.

And then there’s the best part (apart from the beach): the backyard. The backyard is wonderful. It has a ton of space to run around, a gazebo for hanging out in the warm tropical weather, and beautiful mountain views surrounding it all. (That last part is for you, parents. Kids don’t always appreciate mountain views.) There is also a BBQ so you can cook delicious meals out on the BBQ while the kids run around and play. In essence, it’s a great place to spend your Kauai vacation. Don’t you think?

So come and check it out. You’re going to love this house.

This will be the first year in a LONG time that I have missed the Hawaii Sand Castle Contest in Hanalei. And typically, there is no where else I’d rather be than on the beach in Hanalei, working with my friends on an epic sand castle. However, this year I have already decided to go to the Music and Mango festival. So my sand castling days are over… for this year.

However, if you don’t like mango (*gasp*) or you simply want to do something with your family that’s free (the Mango festival costs $10/person), then you might want to hang out at the beach and build your own sand castle!

Just like every year, this event will challenge you to build your best sand castle. You can build as an individual or as a group, and groups can have as many people as you want. So bring your family, your friends, your church group, your co-workers, or anyone else you can think of!

Registration for the sand castle competition begins at 11am, so make sure you are at the beach by then. Once you are registered, you can start building. You will be given a few hours, which will include sculpting and judging. The final judging will take place at 3:30pm and awards will be handed out by 4pm.

Not sure how to build a sand castle? Well, that’s not a big problem. You can still join in the free fun by taking the class. At 11:30am, there will be a sand sculpture class taught by Jeff Peterson. He is a world renowned san sculpture artist and teacher, so the lesson is sure to be interesting and educational. Plus, it’s playing in sand! So it’s sure to be a lot of fun too.

Again, I won’t be there this year. But if you can, you should go! It’s sure to be a lot of fun, and you never know what awesome things people will build. ☺

When I was in college, I visited California for spring break. It was a fun trip with my friends, although it was a bit different from your normal Spring Break activities. You see, we wanted to go somewhere that no one else was going, to avoid the big crowds and see things no one else was going to see. In other words, we couldn’t afford the hotels in San Diego and L.A. where everyone else was staying. ☺

We ended up touring a bit of Northern California, stopping at a few “must see” spots that we heard about from residents. And it just so happened that we stumbled across the Asparagus Festival. Yep, that’s right. It was an entire festival for asparagus. It was amazing.

Now, I hadn’t really been a fan of asparagus since I was forced to eat it as a child. Something about those green sprouts just seemed strange to eat, and my parents insisted on boiling them into mush before serving them. So, between their looks and their mushy texture, I just never grew to like them. Until this festival.

At the asparagus festival, everything asparagus was good. Sometimes it was a bit weird (asparagus ice-cream… I’m just saying), but everything was actually good. So we stayed at the festival for most of the day, enjoying the live entertainment and snacking along the way at all of the food stands. It was a highlight of our Spring Break, one that still gets me funny looks from our friends who made it to San Diego.

Well, on Kauai this month, there will be a MUSIC AND MANGO FESTIVAL!!!!

In case you don’t understand the sheer awesomeness of this event, let me explain. On the shores of Halulu Fishpond in Hanalei, there will be a Saturday festival to celebrate the joys of mango. There will be mango foods made by some of the best chefs and food vendors on Kauai. All food items will be inspired by the summer mango harvest and will include this delicious fruit! Great right? So don’t you want to try mango cheesecake, mango chicken, mango slices, and dried mango with sugar? I know I do!

Also, there will be many activities to enjoy. Live musicians will play throughout the event, and there will be crafts, auctions, classes, cultural displays, workshops, and other entertainment. Local artists will be out in droves, showing their work and selling beautiful pieces. Recipe contest will be taking place, as well as a “largest mango” contest! And everyone is welcome.

So if trying out some delicious mango treats and enjoying activities, crafts, and entertainment sounds like fun, come to Waipa’s Halulu Fishpond on Saturday (the 10th)! The festival will run from 10am to 6pm and the cost is only $10 for adults and $1 per child. (Children 2 and under are free. This event benefits the Waipa Foundation.) Oh and remember to bring a beach blanket for lounging during the festival concerts.

If you are a visitor to Kauai, this blog is for you. Why? Well, most resident Hawaiians have heard the amazing sounds of traditional slack key guitar. It’s a Hawaiian highlight, a sound rich in our culture that expresses the histories of the ages. It is also one of the most Hawaiian experiences you can have on our island.

However, I have discovered that most visitors have never heard slack key guitar. After chatting with one young couple, their response was almost funny to me: “It’s just a guy playing a guitar, right? I mean, I’ve heard that.” So for all of you who might have similar ideas about slack key, I encourage you to come to a concert sometime and get your minds blown!

Every Sunday in Hanalei, there is a slack key guitar concert performed by the best guitar and ukulele players in Kauai: Doug and Sandy McMasters. Doug and Sandy have spent their lives learning the culture, traditions, histories, and stories behind slack key guitar. And they are some of the few people left in the world who truly understand the histories and the music. This is real music, old style, and it is a joy to hear. It’s like they bottle Aloha and pass it out to listeners in cool bursts.

People who have gone to their concerts in the past have said it was the very best part of their vacations, and I believe them. After all, I’ve heard them play and sing a handful of times, and each time they bring the music alive with stories and histories of old Kauai.

The concerts start at 3pm each Sunday, and tickets are only $20 ($15 for kids and seniors). So if this sounds like something you would like to do, please come to Hanalei Community Center some Sunday. If you can only attend one concert while you’re here, this would be the one to see.

If you plan to visit Kauai, you’ll want to stay on the North Side of the island. Why? Well, there is a TON to do here on the North Shore. Plus, I live here! So I can personally attest to the fact that all of the cool kids live on this side. (Okay, forgive the mention of “cool kids.” We’re really more like adults.) :) Anyway, my point is that you’ll want an amazing rental home here in the North, as you’ll be spending most of your time here. And that amazing home is called Hoku Hale.

Hoku Hale is a great property for multiple reasons… and I’m going to start with the kitchen.

Now, I realize that most of you wouldn’t choose the kitchen, but that’s just because you haven’t seen the place yet. Believe me – I’ve visited quite a few vacation rental homes. And this is the first home where I literally drooled over the kitchen. It’s big. It has a huge island. It has enough counter space to cook a feast and feed an army. It’s fully stocked with kitchen items from utensils to appliances. The lighting is perfect. It has a ceiling fan for humid days, so you don’t feel like you’re going to melt into the floor while you cook. And it’s just plain beautiful. I’m in love. I would like to live in this house always, just so I can use the kitchen.

Okay, that said, let me tell you about the rest of the house.

This is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Hanalei, off Weke Road. The bedrooms all have king-sized beds and space enough to stretch out and enjoy yourself. The bathrooms are full bathrooms, so there is no fighting over the shower with friends or family members. And three bedrooms means it can sleep 6 comfortably with room for up to 8, if your guests don’t mind couches.

Amenities include things like wireless internet, beautifully remodeled bathrooms, granite countertops, ceiling fans, and two lanais for your relaxation. There is also a washer-dryer unit in the house, so you can pack light and wash what you wear before you go home. And there is a BBQ for grilling up any fish you catch or local food you bring home.

The exterior of the house is well-kept and nice. There is a large lawn where you can run around and play with your kids, and quite a few fruit trees where you can pick some excellent Kauai-grown produce. The house itself is raised up on stilts, so you get the best views around. (Plus, there is a wrap-around deck with outdoor tables and chairs, so you can sit out on the deck each morning with a cup of Kauai Coffee and enjoy the beautiful mountain air.)

But it gets better.

The world-famous Hanalei Bay is right across the street. Literally. So the best beach on Kauai is only a short walk away. And each night you can fall asleep listening to the sound of the surf.

This is seriously one of the best vacation rentals on Kauai, and it can be your home-away-from-home when you visit. So please feel free to call and check the availability on this property. You are going to LOVE it!

From time to time, I talk about book signings here on Kauai. After all, we have a few talented authors here, and they occasionally allow us to celebrate with them at book signings. I LOVE book signings. ☺

Coming up here on Kauai, we have two different book signings you can attend. At these signings, you can purchase some good books, meet the authors, and ask the authors to sign your books! It’s wonderful, right? I think so. So let’s discuss the upcoming events.

Adults: This first book signing is just for adults. It will take place right here in Hanalei at the Tahiti Nui Restaurant and Lounge Luau Room. During this event, you can buy books, meet the author, enjoy live music, eat great food, hula your afternoon away, and have lots of fun. The author’s name is Jill Marie Landis and she is celebrating the publication of the third book in her Tiki Goddess Mysteries series: Three to Get Lei’d. It should be a fun afternoon, and it’s free! So come and enjoy yourself on Sunday, July 28, from 2-4pm at the Tahiti Nui Restaurant and Lounge Luau Room.

Kids and Adults: Kauai Museum in Lihue will also be having a book signing, coming up on August 2nd at 11:30am. The author, Jacqueline Skylark Rossetti (aka Honolulu Skylark), will be there, discussing the Merrie Monarch Commemorative book and telling stories about the years she hosted the Merrie Monarch Competition. This will be a fascinating book signing, but it will also cost $10/person to get into the museum. (Kids ages 6-17 will cost $2-$6, depending on age. Children under 5 are free.)

Now, if you want to go to the book signing at the museum but you don’t think the cost is worth it, keep in mind that there will be other things happening at the museum that day. For instance, you can visit the museum exhibits, marveling at the fascinating history of Kauai. Also, there will be a Friday Paina in the museum courtyard from 11:30am-1pm. In other words, there will be food! So after you check out the beauty of the museum and attend the book signing, you can visit the courtyard for some local cuisine and good company.

If you are staying on the North Side of the island, then you already know that there is a ton of stuff to do. From snorkeling and surfing to hiking and horseback riding, there is a plethora of things to do here at all times. And that’s not to mention the festivals, celebrations, historical sites, and fun events that happen here all year round.

However, that’s not to say that we don’t still want extra things to do, right?!? So please join us this Saturday (July 27) for the 7th Annual Open Water Swim Race!

Swimmers will meet together at 7am at the Hanalei Bay pier to swim in one of four races. Each race has a price for entry (somewhere between $10 and $30), which includes the racing fee, a t-shirt commemorating the event, and a colorful swim cap. Plus, everyone will get the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful waters of Hanalei Bay.

If you’ll remember, Hanalei Bay is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is a lovely half-crescent bay over 3000 meters across, and the waters are blue, clear, and warm. (In fact, the water here on Kauai typically stays warm, due to our tropical climate.) And when you race, you will have the opportunity to truly experience the luxury of swimming in our beautiful bay.

Now, there will be two races for children and two for adults. The adults will race either 1000 meters or 3000 meters. And the top three swimmers in each event will be awarded a medal!

And for those of you who have children that love the water and want to enter, don’t worry. Safety is always a priority, especially when there are kids in the water. So the race course will be closely watched by lifeguards and safety monitors, both along the shore and in the water. The lifeguards on land will watch for swimmers in trouble, and the safety monitors will be in boats and on paddleboards. (And you will be watching too, of course.) ☺

So, if you or someone in your family wants to swim, be at the pier no later than 7am to sign up!

But what if you don’t want to swim? What if you just want to watch? Well, that’s okay too! In fact, the course is designed to parallel the shore, so you will be able to watch all of the excitement right from the beach. There will be vendors around to sell you snacks, and you can always walk along the beach and enjoy the white sandy awesomeness while you watch.

The event should end right around noon, so it won’t be all day. And then you can enjoy some of the wonderful North Shore restaurants! It’s a win-win! See you there. ☺